BY GEORGE OKOJIE, Lagos
Lagos State Government on Wednesday charged chairmen of Local government to consider generating employment through cleaning of drainages in their domain, saying the increasing rate of environmental nuisances in some local government, especially tertiary drainages across the state is worrisome.
Speaking at a One-Day stakeholders meeting to deliberate on cleaning and maintenance of tertiary drains in the state, the state Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello said that the decision to organize the meeting was borne out of the desire to improve the state of the drainage network and make them cleaner.
The Commissioner, who said the problem of unemployment and insecurity could be addressed through the environmental sector, urged the council chairmen to look into the possibility of engaging teeming unemployed youths to clean and maintain the drainage for the benefit of everyone.
According to him, since the abolition of the monthly environmental sanitation, it had been observed that most Lagos residents had stopped the regular cleaning of drains in their locality, adding that the development had worsened the environment in the state.
He said: “Before the stoppage of monthly environmental sanitation exercise in Lagos State, most residents limited themselves to cleaning the tertiary drains only once a month. Immediately the programme was invalidated by a court pronouncement, most residents refused to touch the drains in front of their houses. And as such most of the tertiary drains have become a refuse dump for residents with Local Governments not caring about their Sanitation.
“This lethargy has not been helped by an inadequate number of sanitation officers (Wole Wole) who are supposed to go round and enforce the law concerning failure of residents to maintain the tertiary drains in their areas and ensure its general cleanliness. This has brought undue pressure on the state agents who have several times had to embark on enforcement activities that should ordinarily have been undertaken at the Local Government level.”
Bello explained that the state government is responsible for maintaining and cleaning the major channels of secondary and primary nature because they are the bigger ones that crisscross several Local Governments and also take water from Local Government to the other adding that the tertiary drains which pass through the frontage of most residences have been left in the purview of Local Governments.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Drainage and Water Resources, Engr Joe Igbokwe commended the intervention of EFAG, which Bello said works on about 6547 meters of tertiary drain channels round the state weekly while since its re-introduction by the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration in October 2019.
Igbokwe said with the classification of the drainages in the state, it was therefore required that strategic methods are evolved to improve the future of the state and make it flood free and beautiful for people through sustainable drainage/ canal cleaning maintenance.
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